Arc Echono, ES TETFund

The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Architect Sonny Echono, last Tuesday said the Fund has earmarked N1 billion for hostels construction in 12 institutions under its  2024 intervention cycle. He said the 12 institutions were selected to benefit from the allocation comprising six universities, three polytechnics, and three colleges of education across the six geopolitical zones. He added that the money would be utilised as equity contribution in partnership with private developers to construct hostels in the selected institutions.

“I am pleased to inform you that the Africa Plus Partners, in partnership with Akwa Ibom State University, has launched the construction of a 1,600 capacity students’ hostel through the support of TETFund on May 15.”

Architect Echono said the Fund was taking a closer look at some of the age-old problems facing many institutions, including students’ accommodation. “Many of our students are either congested in the dormitories across campuses, or living and studying outside the school environment.

“The existing hostels are not only grossly inadequate, but most of them are in deplorable conditions, especially with regard to functional utility and sanitation. “This, definitely, will affect the performance and wellbeing of the students,” he stated.

The TETFund boss noted that in the face of scarce resources, the government had tried over the years to build students’ hostels across the country.

He said the government appeared overstretched and unable to meet the ever-increasing number of students enrolling into the various institutions annually.

“As a result of this, we have at several fora advocated the consideration and involvement of the private sector under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to provide solutions to the students’ accommodation crises across institutions.”

He added that the repositioning of the teaching profession and the teaching practice intervention that the Fund had consistently made available to supervisors, was another area of concern of the Fund.

According to him, teaching practice provided experiences to supervisors and student teachers in-real time in the teaching environment, and provided an opportunity for supervisors and student teachers to practise the art of teaching before they became real teachers.

“This helps to perfect their ability and potential in pedagogy. It enables supervisors and student teachers to discover their weaknesses and strengths in the classroom and provides the opportunity to hone and improve their abilities.

“Teaching practice enables supervisors and student teachers to develop a positive attitude towards the teaching profession among several other important reasons. “This is why the teaching practice intervention has remained a relevant intervention area of the Fund,” he said.

The TETFund Boss disclosed that the Fund recently received a communication from the Federal Ministry of Education (FME)  regarding the Presidential directive to TETFund on the support of teaching practice.

According to him, the communication also contained the recommendations of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission regarding the teaching practice allowances. He, therefore, stressed the need to rework the teaching practice funding template currently in use, in line with the communication.